Hays homers to help Orioles to 5-2 win to sweep Astros

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HOUSTON (AP) — Austin Hays homered and Ryan Mountcastle drove in two runs to help the Baltimore Orioles wrap up a three-game sweep of the slumping Houston Astros with a 5-2 win on Wednesday night.

It’s the first time the Orioles have swept the Astros since June 17-19, 2008 in Baltimore and their first-ever sweep at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros swept the Orioles in a three-game series last week where they outscored them 26-3 as part of an 11-game winning streak. Things were much different in this series where the Astros were done in by shaky pitching and an inability to capitalize with runners in scoring position.

On Wednesday the Orioles jumped on rookie starter Luis Garcia (6-5) for four runs in the first inning. The tough start came after he entered the game having never given up more than three runs in a game in 20 MLB appearances.

The Astros scored two in the fourth to cut the lead to 4-2, but Hays hit his second homer of the series on a solo shot off rookie Ryan Hartman in the eighth to pad the lead.

The Astros have dropped five of six after their season-long 11-game winning streak. Houston leads the majors in runs, hits and batting average, but was just 5 for 26 with runners in scoring position in this series where the team was outscored 27-12.

Matt Harvey permitted four hits and two runs in 4 1/3 innings. Tanner Scott (3-3) struck out four in 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win and Cole Sulser got the last five outs for his third save.

Garcia allowed three hits, walked three and struck out five in four innings.

He walked Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini to open the game and Houston pitching coach Brent Strom was ejected during a visit to the mound. There was one out in the inning when Mountcastle doubled to left field to score them both.

DJ Stewart walked before an RBI single by Maikel Franco. Pedro Severino followed with a sacrifice fly to score Stewart and make it 4-0.

Garcia settled down after that and retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced before Brandon Bielak took over for the fifth inning.

Harvey didn’t allow a baserunner until a single by Michael Brantley with one out in the fourth inning. Yuli Gurriel followed with a single before a third single, this one by Yordan Alvarez, scored Brantley to cut the lead to 4-1.

There were two outs in the inning when Kyle Tucker drove in a run with a single on a grounder to left field.

The Astros had a chance to cut the lead in the fifth when they had runners at first and second with one out. But Scott replaced Harvey and retired Brantley and Gurriel to leave them emptyhanded.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Travis Lakins was placed on the injured list with right elbow pain on Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s start in the second inning. Manager Brandon Hyde said he would undergo more testing later this week but that he’s likely to be out for a while. ... RHP Spenser Watkins had his contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk to take his spot on the roster in his first stint on an MLB roster.

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was placed on the injured list with right shoulder discomfort after leaving Tuesday’s start in the second inning. ... C Martín Maldonado was placed on the bereavement list on Wednesday and C Garrett Stubbs was recalled from Sugar Land to take his place.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Baltimore is off on Thursday before continuing a 10-game road trip with the first of three games against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

Astros: Left-hander Framber Valdez (4-1, 2.11 ERA) will start for Houston against J.C. Mejia (1-2, 4.94) in the opener of a four-game series at Cleveland on Thursday night.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press

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